HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban Interests Section in Washington announced today that it will renew until the end of March the expired passports of Cubans living in the United States who plan to travel in the coming months to the island, reported dpa.
Likewise the office continues looking for a bank to carry its accounts and allow them to normalize the functioning of their consular services.
The Interests Section reiterated in a statement that “requests motivated by humanitarian reasons continue to receive prompt treatment and according to Cuban immigration regulations, Cuban citizens must carry a valid passport to enter the country”.
The embassy said it cannot find a US or foreign bank based in the United States or a third country willing to provide bank account services to Cuban diplomatic missions “to ensure normal operation and to provide full consular services”.
He said that the situation stems from “the worsening of the blockade imposed by the government of the United States, and the unjustified and unsustainable designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of international terrorism.” As a result US banks authorized to work with Cuban entities have to comply with complex regulations and strict financial controls.
Cuba announced in February a new suspension of consular services in the United States due to the “impossibility” of finding a new bank to handle the accounts of the diplomatic mission. Its former bank, M & T, closed the mission’s accounts as of March 1.
A directive in late April from Havana obliges travel agencies that sell tickets to Cuba from the United States to try to prevent Cubans with expired documents from boarding aircraft to the island under threat of “penalties.”.
In May, the embassy began to renew expired passports for Cuban residents in the US who had planned to travel to the island.
In the absence of direct diplomatic relations, Cuba and the United States maintain “interest sections” that allow them to perform consular services and continue the few existing bilateral relations, for example related to migration, although the respective staff has serious action and movement restrictions in the respective countries.